), a city on the coast of Etruria, situated on a promontory between the Mons Argentarius and the mouth of the Umbro (Ombrone
), with a tolerable port adjoining it.
The story told by Diodorus of its having derived its name from the hero Telamon, who accompanied the Argonauts on their voyage, may be safely dismissed as an etymological fable (Diod. 4.56
There seems no reason to doubt that it was originally an Etruscan town, but no mention of its name occurs in history during the period of Etruscan independence.
It is first noticed in B.C. 225, when a great battle was fought by the Romans in its immediate neighbourhood with an army of Cisalpine Gauls, who had made an irruption into Etruria, but were intercepted, by the consuls C. Atilius and L. Aemilius in the neighbourhood of Telamon, and totally defeated. They are said to have lost 40,000 men slain, and 10,000 prisoners, among whom was one of their chiefs or kings (Pol. 1.27-31).
The battle, which is described by Polybius in considerable detail, is expressly stated by him to have occurred “near Telamon in Etruria:” Frontinus, in speaking of the same battle, places the scene of it near Populonia (Strat.
1.2.7), but the authority of Polybius is certainly preferable.
The only other mention of Telamon that occurs in history is in B.C. 87, when Marius landed there on his return from exile, and commenced gathering an army around him. (Plut. Mar. 41
But there is no doubt that it continued to exist as a town, deriving some importance from its port, throughout the period of the Roman dominion. Its name is found both in Mela and Pliny, who calls it “portus Telamon,” while Ptolemy notices only the promontory of the name (Τελαμών ἄκρον, Ptol. 3.1.4
; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8
; Mel. 2.4.9). The Itineraries prove that it was still in existence as late as the 4th century (Tab. Peut.; Itin. Marit.
p. 500, where it is called “Portus Talamonis” ); but from this time all trace of it disappears till the 14th century, when a castle was erected on the site.
This, with the miserable village which adjoins it, still bears the name of Telamone;
and the shores of the bay are lined with remains of Roman buildings, but of no great interest; and there are no relics of Etruscan antiquity. (Dennis's Etruria,
vol. ii. p. 258.)